“People suddenly know how to use money when there are none left”
― Bangambiki HabyarimanaThe Great Pearl of Wisdom

Does the above quote sound and feel familiar? It happens to all of us, even the best and the brightest. A fool with money is one big endless party; until the cash bottoms out except you are El Chapo. Securing and managing the finances for your future may sound ridiculously silly in your 20’s and 30’s but as the years creep in, responsibilities and life style habits sets in. Unfortunately school fees and pampers are like vacation and weddings; they are never on discount.

The world is in turmoil. Consumption from China has slowed down; commodity prices are at an all-time low. Brazil is upside down. The emerging economies are having it very hot. Let’s not talk about Europe. Old enemies are become frenemies (circa America and Cuba; na money cause am. Venezuela is broke and there is no one to turn to). All in all, money is scarce; the headwinds are finally here (sounds like a familiar line, right? I did not invent it).

All these demonstrate one point; economic uncertainty will always be certainty. With that in mind, it sure means that we have to plan for winter during summer. Summer is great time to have the time of your life BUT thou shall remember that winter cometh; someday, somehow. It will be wise for you not to let it creep on you. If it creeps on you, then your January will be very long. You get my drift.

So how do we plan for financial winter? I’ll share thoughts with you. I’m generous. I wouldn’t charge you for it. I am kind but people don’t’ know. Lol.

Follow the Money: Do you know where your money is going? A little 5k here and there depletes the account. Mosquitoes kill more people per year than Lions do. Trickling outflows depletes the purse quickly and suddenly. Ponder about it for a moment, you think more when big sums are involved but the occasional 10k here and there comes to a tidy sum. Every desert is made up of a small grain. Now you get my drift.

In order to follow the money; have a plan. Plan as much as you can, even your generosity. A plan mitigates emergencies and impulse spending. Use a simple spreadsheet (I have used one for the past 11 years). Don’t bother with sophisticated software. Create a plan. Execute it. Keep your commitments to your commitments. And voila, it becomes a habit.

“If money management isn’t something you enjoy, consider my perspective. I look at managing my money as if it were a part-time job. The time you spend monitoring your finances will pay off. You can make real money by cutting expenses and earning more interest on savings and investments. I’d challenge you to find a part-time job where you could potentially earn as much money for just an hour or two of your time.”
Laura D. AdamsMoney Girl’s Smart Moves to Deal with Your Debt

Let The Jones Be : Let’s face it. You are not one of them. Owning a Porsche doesn’t still make the cut. Face your life and live it on your own terms. The legendary philosopher, Will Smith aka Fresh Prince of Belair once said “Too many people are buying things they can’t afford, with money that they don’t have; to impress people that they don’t like”. Don’t allow that bug to catch you. Because when it does, you will tell your colleagues, as it is commonly said in Nigerian parlance, “My money and your money, no be mate”. By then you are officially a Jones. QED.

Invest In The Economy: There is never a good time to invest but you have to. Buying assets brings passive income. Having multiple streams of income does not kill. Money is always part bread (to be eaten) and part seed (to be sown). C’mon, you know the difference. Make sure you are not eating the seed. Plant it and tend to it. It will grow. There will be tough times ahead but stick to it. Gather the wisdom to tend to your investment.

Budget & Save: Cash is king and will always be. I have been told that and I have seen it play out. Money gives you confidence. If someone says a thing is NGN 3 million, you can comfortable say, “I have NGN 600k for it”. It is an offer. Before you know, you may get that stuff. It is always good to have cash. Not just for emergencies but for opportunities that presents themselves in time of crises. Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value. Another QED. I am feeling smart.

Invest In Yourself : Get a skill. Yes a hard core skill that you can commercialise. In today’s knowledge economy, you can pick up any skill and there are loads of You-Tube videos to guide you through. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that will end up with a certification. Most times, it is something you are passionate about. Nobody can take this from you. It is yours and you decide what to do with it.

Be Liberal; Even To Yourself : Smell the roses. Plan to take care of yourself. You are your biggest asset. Invest in yourself. See the world. Experience life. Fulfil a childhood dream. Sleep in the Waldorf Astoria. Gather experiences. Don’t be Hetty Green. I repeat. Don’t be Hetty Green because there is already a Hetty Green.

Save the pennies. Make it habitual and when the headwinds comes, they will know that this one person cannot be swept. Hasta la vista.

Gabriel Omin